Avoid being “smished” by scammers
BBB warns of spam texts being sent to steal consumer’s personal information
AUSTIN, Texas - Nov. 14, 2011 – A new scam has hit the market, targeting cell phone users. “Smishing,” similar to “phishing,” uses text messages to bait consumers into divulging their personal information.
One form of the scam tricks consumers into believing their bank accounts have been frozen. The text message appears to come from the consumer’s bank and directs the victim to call a provided number to unfreeze the account. The number provided connects to the scammers, who ask for the victim’s personal information – account number, PIN and Social Security number.
The scam can take many forms, such as promising a free laptop, mortgage assistance or lottery winnings. Some texts might even offer a free product, such as a security app, to get you to click on a link which then downloads identity stealing software to your phone. Regardless of the tactic used, the overall objective is to steal your personal information.
According to online security firm Trusteer, cell phone users are three times more likely to fall for fake messages than computer users.
BBB offers these tips from AARP on how to protect your personal information from smishing texts:
· Do not reply. Replying to a spam text only verifies that your number is active, meaning more messages can be sent.
· Check with your bank directly. Separate from the text, look up your bank’s phone number and contact your bank directly to confirm the status of your accounts.
· Avoid unknown links. Do not click on any link sent by an unknown party.
· Block suspicious numbers. If you have received texts from an unknown number, contact your phone provider to block the number the texts are originating from.
· Do not store personal information on your phone. Avoid storing credit card and account login information in emails or notes on your phone.
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Contact BBB serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin at (512) 445-4748.